Reading from Saveur magazine recently, some friends and I learned that while we leave milk and cookies for Santa in the U.S., they apparently leave rice porridge for him in Sweden or a glass of Guinness in Ireland...
Friend: I imagine Santa would rather have a glass of Guinness...(pause)...I just had a childhood memory. One year I was mad at Santa, so I left him pickles and grape juice...(Looking off into the distance, pensively, as if trying to remember.)...Why would I be so mad at Santa?
Me: I don't know, but it was risky.
Friend: I was a willful child.
Speaking of pickles, I'm a new fan of Rick's Picks, a Brooklyn-born pickle company making mason jars cool again. But more than the badass names (like Phat Beets in a rosemary-scented brine), Rick and his people pluck vegetables from local farms and add salty, herbed juice with bite taking grandma's pastime to new flavor heights. Kapow.
I most liked the Mean Beans (notice bean-less container below) in cayenne-spiced brine with wisps of dill and hunks of garlic. I offered them to some friends one night with just some cheddar and crackers, and, well, poof. Gone.
So maybe my friend who served the pickles to Santa wasn't so far off after all? I can't think of anyone better suited for a bite of Whup Asp on Christmas Eve. Santa's gotta keep his game face on.
Listening to (favorite Christmas song of late): "Santa Claus Likes Rich Kids Better" by Young & Sexy